Date of Award

5-10-2021

Degree Type

Evidence-Based Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Julie A. Koch

Abstract

The prevalence of stress is increasing in colleges, where students are experiencing anxiety at an alarming rate, with anxiety being the topic most discussed in university counseling centers. The purpose of this evidence-based practice project was to determine the effect of mindfulness exercises on college students’ perceived stress. The Stetler Model guided the project development and implementation. The literature search revealed that best practice included mindfulness exercises through a combination of face-to-face instruction and remote online audio meditation for a duration of eight weeks. For this project, 56 undergraduate students (health care-leadership, health-science, and nursing majors) enrolled in a health care leadership class were asked to participate. Consenting students completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) at baseline. Mindfulness activities, in the form of 3- to 10-minute audiovisual sessions, were provided prior to the start of scheduled class for a period of eight weeks. Students were also encouraged to use and track additional guided audio meditations outside of the classroom. At the end of the 8-week period, paired t-tests were used to evaluate the effect of the intervention on students’ stress. Findings included a modest reduction in total PSS-10 scores from baseline to post-intervention: 20.23 vs. 18.70 (t = 1.743, p = 0.089). But statistically significant improvement in scores were noted on the item that assessed how often students felt nervous and stressed M = 3.33 vs. M = 2.93, (t = 2.716, p = .010). A repeated measures ANOVA was run on post-intervention total PSS-10 scores to assess for efficacy within specific demographic variables (gender, major, academic grade level, GPA, and counseling center visits), but none of these were statistically significant. The secondary outcome of PSS-10 scores based on the total days of mindfulness exercise intervention participation showed not significant (p = .085) results. However, the mean post-intervention PSS-10 score did decrease with general utilization of mindfulness exercise sessions. The results may be clinically significant and may provide college-aged students with the resources needed to combat stress as they continue their education and enter the workforce.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
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